Opposition party accuses president of violating Constitution

The opposition Social-Democrats (SDS) have filed a request to initiate proceedings for the removal of President Tomislav Nikolic from office.

Source: Politika, Tanjug

The parliamentary group of the party - led by former Serbian President Boris Tadic - said that Nikolic had violated the Constitution.

The group's deputy head Janko Veselinovic told reporters on Wednesday that the request was filed because of Nikolic's comments published by the daily Politika, when he spoke about War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic's announcement he would investigate war crimes accusations presented against army chief Ljubisa Dikovic by an NGO.

According to the SDS, Nikolic's statement for the media "violated several articles of the Constitution." Veselinovic specified that those were "Article 4, which says that the government is divided into legislative, executive and judicial powers, Article 149 which talks about the independence of the judiciary and Article 156, which guarantees the independence of the public prosecutor and the prosecution in general."

He added that the initiative was also sent to other parliamentary groups, whom he urged to join it.

"We, people's deputies, are returning to the Middle Ages when the existence of the Constitution was not important, when instead there was one person who was above the Constitution and above legal documents," Veselinovic was quoted as saying.

He added that he expected MPs "to protect the Constitution."

The SDS parliamentary group handed out to reporters a part of Nikolic's statement referring to the accusations against General Dikovic, when he said he "demonstrated his stance the very next day by meeting with Dikovic in front of the cameras."

The daily Politika on February 14 posted excerpts from the interview, published in its entirety the next day, on its website.

Commenting on Vukcevic's statement that "no Dikovic is above the law," Nikolic said:

"To be a war crimes prosecutor in Serbia is very delicate. He is not a pawn of the Hague Tribunal, or merely a hand that is supposed to sign the decrees arriving from the Hague. He is a prosecutor in Serbia, in his own country, and needs convince himself of something. And now a man from Serbia who is the supreme prosecutor for these matters in this country, 16 years after the (NATO) bombing, is supposed to tell me he will investigate something. His mandate has expired, too. Let him think a little about what he is digging around in Serbia. But, he is not the only one. An orchestrated campaign has been launched once again."

Asked whether he was accusing Vukcevic of "not being autonomous in his work," Nikolic replied:

"Each prosecutor should be autonomous and in Serbia he has complete autonomy, but there is no independence. Our war crimes prosecutor has failed to realize that he is autonomous. He thinks he's an organ of some other autonomous prosecution."


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